According to the Centers for Disease Control, about a 75million Americans have high blood pressure (that is, 1 in 3 adults have this condition). However, many people do not even know they are part of this statistic since High BP or hypertension does not have any apparent symptoms. Nevertheless, having high blood pressure is quite common nowadays.
However, undetected high BP can lead to heart attack and stroke in extreme cases. So if you or someone in your family has hypertension, do not worry. Dietary modifications can play a key role in managing high blood pressure. Here is a 7-day Blood Pressure reduction Meal Plan which can get you started on a path of recovery.
What Exactly Happens in Hypertension?
We all know that our arteries and veins carry blood to all parts of the body.. The pressure exerted in your arteries and veins as blood passes through the vessels is called blood pressure. The normal blood pressure range is 120/80 mm/Hg. When the blood pressure exceeds the normal range, it is called high blood pressure.
The Causes of Hypertension
The causes of this increase in blood pressure are as follows:
- Being overweight or obese
- Addition of extra salt to the diet
- Too much sodium in the body
- Lack of physical activity
- Stressful lifestyle
Symptoms of Hypertension
Symptoms that you may have high blood pressure are as follows:
- Frequent severe headaches
- Nose bleed
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Reduced ability to think clearly, confusion
- Pain in the chest
- Arrhythmia or facing irregular beating of the heart
- Uncomfortable breathing or difficulty in breathing easily
- Urine in the blood
- Extreme nervousness
- Perspiration or sweating
- Facing vertigo or dizziness
- Facing trouble in sleeping
- Spots of blood in the eye
What is a 1500 Calories Meal Plan?
A 1500 calorie meal plan has lower calories than anyone usually consumes. However, with the shift in food consumption from home-cooked meals to convenience food, the world has seen a rise in hypertension.
In addition, several studies suggest that a sedentary lifestyle, a fast-moving world, pollution, and stress have adverse effects on health. Such a low-calorie meal plan needs strict supervision. It is better to consult a certified nutritionist before following any particular diet. The following people should not follow this diet:
- Women who are pregnant, lactating or planning to conceive
- Athletes who do high-intensity workouts for long hours in a day
- If you are engaged in activities like trekking, hiking etc
- If your daily work requires a lot of physical involvement
1500 Calories Meal Plan and Hypertension
A diet specifically curated for people with hypertension is called a DASH diet:
DASH [Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension] Diet
This diet has been researched over the years and proven effective against hypertension. Every serving in this diet is 30 grams. The guide to this diet is as follows:
- Vegetables: Five servings per day
- Fruits: Five servings per day
- Carbohydrates: Seven servings per day
- Low-Fat Dairy Products: Two servings per day
- Lean Meat Products: One to two servings per day
- Nuts and Seeds: 20-30 grams per week.
Healthy food sources that you can consume in the DASH diet are:
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, amaranth etc.
- Complex carbohydrates like split wheat, cracked wheat, rolled oats, Ragi, Jowar, Bajra etc.
- Pulses, legumes and beans
- Low glycemic index fruits
Healthy fat sources in this diet include:
- Olive oil
- Tuna and salmon fish
- Nuts like almond and pistachios
- Flaxseeds and hemp seeds
Protein sources in this diet:
- Low-fat dairy
Calculation of 1500 Calories
Thanks to technology and proper food labelling, calculating calories is no more a complicated task. Whenever you eat a particular food item, literally read between the lines and check the label before opening the packet.
The label mentions calories per 100 grams or serving size (note: serving size is different for different food items, please check). Once you know the number of calories, eat accordingly. The HealthifyMe app can help you in calorie tracking, and you can monitor calorie consumption accurately.
1500 Calories Meal Plan with Hypertension: Foods to Eat
Berries like strawberries and blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and have many health benefits. One of which includes reducing hypertension and thus improving cardiovascular health. Berries have anthocyanin, which is a flavonoid.
This flavonoid has vasodilatory properties. This property helps widen blood vessels and relax smooth muscles, which reduces blood pressure. Research has proven the vasodilatory properties of berries.
This fruit is readily available in every household. Also, it is pocket friendly and nutritious and has high potassium levels. Potassium is a mineral that helps in improving heart health by reducing blood pressure. This mineral reduces the effect of sodium in your body. It helps flush out sodium from your body through the kidneys, lowering blood pressure.
Sodium buildup in the body increases blood pressure, and removing sodium in the body reduces high blood pressure.
Yes, you read it right! Dark chocolate helps in lowering high blood pressure. However, the chocolate has to be a minimum of 60 – 75 % dark chocolate. Cocoa in chocolate is a flavonoid that helps in preventing high blood pressure.
Cocoa activates nitric oxide and increases its bioavailability. In addition, it reduces plaque formation in the blood vessels, which in turn widens the vessels and lowers blood pressure. Scientific research backs the claim.
Also known as a beet in some parts of the world. This tuber has beneficial effects on your heart. It contains nitrate, which gets converted to nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide acts as a vasodilator and relaxes the smooth muscles of the heart.
A vasodilator eases the pressure on blood vessels by widening them and hence reduces blood pressure. Nitrates in beetroot are available in the raw and cooked form of beetroot.
Research shows that 500 ml of beetroot juice daily lowers blood pressure in people.
It is a very famous complex carbohydrate and a go-to source for people who want to lose weight. Little did you know that oats improve heart health and reduce high blood pressure. In addition, oats have high amounts of fibre present, which aids in early satiety. There is a unique type of fibre in oats called beta-glucan, which is soluble.
This type of fibre reduces cholesterol and plaque formation in the blood vessels. When plaque formation reduces, it is easier for blood to pass through the minute blood vessels. Therefore, blood pressure is normal when blood passes easily through the minute capillaries (tiny blood vessels). Therefore, this is how oats help in reducing high blood pressure.
7- day Hypertension-friendly 1500 Calories Meal Plan
Day 1 Meal Plan
- Breakfast: 1 serving of oatmeal in ½ cup low-free milk with 5 raisins and chopped walnuts
- Mid Morning Snack: 1 cup of nonfat Greek yoghurt with 1 cup of raspberries
- Lunch: 1 serving of cream of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich
- Evening Snack: 1 banana topped with one tablespoon of peanut butter
- Dinner: 1 serving of shrimp jerk chicken & pineapple slaw with 1 cup of easy brown rice
Total Calories for the Day: 1489
Day 2 Meal Plan
- Breakfast: 1 serving of spinach avocado smoothie with one orange
- Mid Morning Snack: 1 cup of blueberries with ½ cup nonfat greek yoghurt
- Lunch: 1 serving of Zucchini noodles with turkey Bolognese
- Evening Snack: 1 cup of cantaloupe
- Dinner: 1 serving of easy pea & spinach carbonara
Total Calories for the Day: 1479
Day 3 Meal Plan
- Breakfast: 1 serving of banana spinach smoothie
- Mid Morning Snack: 1 cup of cantaloupe
- Lunch: 1 serving of skillet lemon chicken & potatoes with kale
- Evening Snack: 1 banana with 1 tbsp of peanut butter
- Dinner: 1 serving of Broccoli noodles with baked chicken and veggies
Total Calories for the Day: 1477
Day 4 Meal Plan
- Breakfast: 1 serving of avocado beet greens smoothie
- Mid Morning Snack: 1 serving of yoghurt with 1 cup of raspberries
- Lunch: 1 serving of sweet potato noodles with baked fish with veggies
- Evening Snack: 1 banana with 1 tbsp of peanut butter
- Dinner: 1 serving of southwestern salmon cobb salad with 3 cups of air-popped popcorns
Day 5 Meal Plan
- Breakfast: 1 serving of avocado and cottage cheese toast
- Mid Morning Snack: 1 cup of blueberries with non-fat greek yoghurt
- Lunch: 1 serving of Tuna stuffed pepper with two sliced bell peppers
- Evening Snack: ½ cup of cantaloupe
- Dinner: 1 serving of bean and barley soup
Total Calories for the Day: 1492
Day 6 Meal Plan
- Breakfast: 1 serving of oatmeal with 5-6 raisins and 2 chopped walnuts
- Mid Morning Snack: 1 serving of chia cottage cheese with blueberries
- Lunch: 1 serving cream of tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich
- Evening Snack: Almonds ( 1 oz)
- Dinner: 1 serving of sour cream and herbed baked potatoes with 2 cups of mixed greens
Total Calories for the Day: 1497
Day 7 Meal Plan
- Breakfast: 1 serving of bran cereal (cooked in non-fat milk) with 1 cup of blueberries
- Mid Morning Snack: 1 Orange
- Lunch: 1 serving of cottage cheese slices with dill tuna and one banana
- Evening Snack: 1 cup of raspberries with 1 cup of nonfat Greek yoghurt
- Dinner: 2 servings of toaster oven tostada
Total Calories for the Day: 1495
Lifestyle Changes to Combat High Blood Pressure
- Sleeping for 7-8 hours daily
- Stay physically active for five days a week, working out 30 minutes each day. In total, 150 minutes of being physically active every week.
- Reduce the amount of junk food.
- Eat meals at stipulated meal timing, following a proper dietary routine.
- Make sure you include all the food groups in the diet.
- Follow a balanced diet and active lifestyle.
Precautions for High Blood Pressure
If you are on medications that help blood thinning, these foods should not be over-eat. As it may result in double action of the medicines and the food items, it may have harmful consequences.
If you are suffering from high blood pressure, you should avoid vitamin K rich foods. Vitamin K helps in blood clotting so that it may alleviate blood pressure. Foods rich in vitamin K are as follows:
- Collard greens
- Red meat
- High-fat milk
- Hard and soft cheese
- High-fat yoghurt
- Mustard greens
Foods to Avoid Completely in Hypertension
- Too Much Salt: You must avoid table salt altogether. Little salt during cooking is allowed. Salted nuts, biscuits, and snacks are strictly not allowed. Such foods have high amounts of salt sprinkled on top, leading to increased sodium and alleviating blood pressure.
- Caffeine: It induces adrenaline secretion in your body. Adrenaline secretion increases blood pressure by reducing the width of blood vessels. The antidiuretic hormone gets blocked by adrenaline. When this hormone is blocked, the width of the blood vessels reduces. Therefore it results in high blood pressure.
- Alcohol: its consumption binds calcium to blood vessels. When calcium binds with the blood vessels, blood cannot pass easily through the vessels. Hence, increasing blood pressure.
Hypertension is a condition where the force of the blood against artery walls is too high. Treatments are dietary, lifestyle changes and diuretics. A proper combination of these interventions can significantly improve the condition. Obesity and hypertension can be connected.
However, this is because the heart puts in extra effort to pump blood, which causes strain on the arteries. The arteries, in turn, resist blood flow and the blood pressure level increases. Hence a low 1500, calorie DASH diet is ideal for losing weight and managing hypertension. However, every individual is unique. So, it is better to assess your health and decide on a diet that is custom-made only for you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How much weight can you lose, eating 1500 calories a day?
A. A person regularly consumes a 1800-2000 calorie diet. If you shift to a 1500 calorie diet from this, there is a 300-500 calorie deficit in your diet. This means to aim to lose 300-500 grams per week. You will have to continue this diet to reach your desired weight. Besides this, physical activity, stress management and good quality sleep are essential for losing weight.
Q. Is it healthy to eat 1500 calories a day?
A. It is healthy to eat a 1500 calorie diet provided you have a low-moderate active lifestyle, implying if you work in a cubicle or work from home. It means you are predominantly sitting and working on your laptop or pc throughout the day, with a short duration of an evening walk: a 1500 calorie meal plan might be proper. But if you have to travel a lot daily and your work requires physical exertion, this might not be an appropriate caloric range diet.
Q. What’s the minimum calories needed to survive?
A. A minimum of 1200 calories is needed to survive. Because the body needs calories for its regular functioning like breathing, digestion, absorption, the beating of the heart etc. 1200 calories is a very low-calorie diet, and you must follow it under the strict and physical supervision of a qualified dietitian or a nutritionist.
Q. Can eating too little cause weight gain?
A. If you’re eating little to lose weight and are stressing because you are not seeing fast results. Then it may lead to weight gain. In addition, because of stress, sleep quality is also lowered—low-quality results in low metabolism, resulting in weight gain. So if you want to lose weight, be patient, follow a proper diet plan, and give your body some time to shed the extra pounds you gained over a few years.
Q. Can I eat 1500 calories while breastfeeding
A. 1500 calories while you are lactating or breastfeeding is not advised at all. Lactating is a state of increased calories and nutrients. Reducing calories may lead to physiological harm to you and your baby. You can lose pregnancy weight after the lactation period is over. Reducing the number of calories is not advised during the lactation period.